By Kristen Whalen, Director of Operations at Milestone
In times like these, our Milestone team knows the importance of feeling secure. And when it comes to your money or a client’s money, there’s no such thing as being too careful. With email scams that impersonate correspondence from individuals on the rise, rest assured knowing that our qualified settlement fund administration team has adapted and enacted procedures to safeguard all steps of our process, and all payments and distributions.
A qualified settlement fund (QSF) has proven to be the most useful tool in mass tort cases, as it helps to organize the disbursement of funds to multiple plaintiffs. Having Milestone serve as the administrator of a QSF saves time, reduces confusion, and empowers you and your client to make the best financial decisions moving forward.
Our responsibilities around your qualified settlement fund extend beyond the initial establishment of the fund. As administrator,
- We provide QSF petitions, orders, and/or escrow agreements for review and approval.
- We file petitions for court approval.
- We partner with top nationally- and internationally-accredited banking institutions.
- We provide your firm with an accounting of assets upon request.
- We obtain a Tax Identification Number from the IRS.
- We issue 1099 forms for attorney disbursements.
- We perform ongoing settlement fund accounting and reconciliation.
- We distribute firm fees and expenses, and claimant settlement funds (per written law firm payment instructions on firm letterhead).
And with every qualified settlement fund we administer, our dedicated and reliable team is extra cautious when sending payments. Upon receipt of any written correspondence to make distributions/payments out of a fund to another bank account, our practices include:
- Validating that the payment request and payment instructions came from a trusted source;
- Personally calling the requestor or law firm representative to verbally confirm receipt of the payment/disbursement request and to verify the bank account instructions;
- Initiating the wire or ACH payments under dual control with one team member originating the transactions and another authorizing the transactions before sending; and
- Providing written confirmation back to the requestor when complete so they can be on the lookout and acknowledge receipt.
Our overall experience with this hands-on personal team approach has been very positive, and requesters appreciate that we take extra safety measures and err on the side of caution. At the end of the day, it’s also nice to take a moment to personally connect with our clients.
Lawyers who dedicate their career to mass tort litigation know all too well how complex the settlement process can be. After months or even years of litigation, any process that can help streamline and improve the disbursement of funds should be strongly considered. Call Milestone if you are part of a mass tort and looking for a legal support team.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).